Bill it as youth vs. experience or David vs. Goliath. The Arizona Rattlers will travel to Massachusetts to take on the Pirates for a midseason showdown. The game, scheduled for July 18th at 1:05, will be the eleventh contest of 2021 for the Pirates against just the ninth for Arizona. This season Arizona, winners of six world indoor football league titles since its inception, including three in a row 2012-14, will be looking for IFL title number two, having last won it all in 2017. Before joining the IFL in ‘17, the Rattlers were a perennial force in the AFL since first taking the field in 1992. In contrast, the Pirates have only been playing since 2018, first as members of the NAL, and currently playing their inaugural season in the IFL. This game will answer a lot of questions, for both teams. Can Arizona continue its dominance? Are they on the way to yet another undefeated regular season (the team went 14-0 in 2019)? How will the Pirates stack up against one of indoor football’s greatest franchises? Is the teal and gold ready to compete for a league championship? This matchup should help answer all of these questions and more.
The Rattlers are led by Head Coach Kevin Guy, who is entering his 12th season at the helm. With Guy on the sidelines, the Rattlers have appeared in seven league championship games over the last nine years. In his twenty seasons coaching indoor football, he has compiled a record of 211-70 (winning percentage .751). During the offseason Guy signed two running backs, two former ACC offensive linemen, another speedy kick returner/wide receiver to join the IFL’s 2019 Most Improved Player, Jarrod Harrington, among others, and two quarterbacks. QB Ben Holmes last played for Tarleton State University in Texas, leading his team to back-to-back undefeated seasons. But perhaps the most recognizable new signing is QB Vincent Testaverde Jr., son of former Heisman Trophy winner and 21 season NFL veteran. With this new talent, combined with a roster of players accustomed to playing great football and winning, 2021 should be another successful season for the Rattlers. Guy will have his team ready to go against the Pirates.
2021 is a big season for the Pirates. In his first full season as the Pirates Head Coach, Patrick Pass is expecting his team to advance to the next level of indoor football. Returning QB Sean Brackett led the Pirates to two straight playoff appearances in ‘18 and ‘19 but the team hasn’t yet reached a championship game. This game against the Rattlers will be a huge midseason test for the team. Beating the Rattlers, one of the league’s elite teams, might be just what this team needs. Come playoff time, with the knowledge that they can compete with anyone in the league, the Pirates could become the team to beat. Recently the team acquired former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Martavis Bryant, as yet another target for Brackett. Bryant is a speedy deep threat who can score anytime the ball is in his hands. Along with a strong offensive line, versatile running backs, and a swarming defense, the Pirates will be ready to defend their turf when the Rattlers slide into town.